TAMPA, Fla. (USBWA) – University of Connecticut 6-4 junior forward Breanna Stewart joined five former women’s greats as a two-time winners of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as national player of the year named by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Debbie Corum, senior associate director of athletics for the Huskies, accepted the award for Stewart in the Amalie Arena as UConn, the two-time defending NCAA champion, prepared to meet Maryland in one of the national semifinal games Sunday night.
The award, first handed out in 1987-88 by the USBWA, began being named for former UCLA four-time All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale in 2012.
The other two-time winners were former Virginia star Dawn Staley (1991, ’92), who returned to the Women’s Final Four Sunday for the first time since her playing days as the coach of South Carolina, which was to meet Notre Dame in the other game; Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw (1998, ’99) and Candace Parker (2007, ’08), UConn’s Maya Moore 2009, ’10), and Baylor’s Brittney Griner (2012, ’13).
UConn and Tennessee now each have had a pair of USBWA multiple winners of the award but Stewart could return next year for a record third honor when the Women’s Final Four is held in Indianapolis.
Tennessee’s Tamika Catchings (2000) also won the award while UConn has had Rebecca Lobo (1995), Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2003), and Tina Charles (2010) as winners for an overall total of seven players and nine awards.
Stewart appears on the way to a postseason sweep, having won the Wade Trophy for the first time Saturday while repeating as the Associated Press women’s player. Still to be announced is the Naismith Trophy winner.
Since her last USBWA honor, Stewart was a member of the Gold Medal USA World Champion squad as the only collegian on a roster field with WNBA superstars.
Depending on the outcome here, Stewart, a native of North Syracuse, N.Y., also has a chance to become the first women’s player to win four straight NCAA Division I women’s national basketball titles.
Her coach Geno Auriemma, who has won the USBWA women’s coach honor a record four times, says his star post player is like a car that runs better than others of similar construction describing how Stewart rises to the occasion at key moments.
“She’s just wired differently,” Auriemma, who was the USA World Championship coach, said.
Following a pedestrian freshman season, Stewart carried the Huskies to the 2013 championship, winning most outstanding player honors, and then repeated the award last season.
This season, Stewart has averaged 17.6 points per game on a team loaded and balanced with superior talent – teammates Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Moriah Jefferson joined her as USBWA All-Americans – and also averaged 7.6 rebounds while blocking 96 shots and grabbing 57 steals.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
|ALL-TIME ANN MEYERS DRYSDALE AWARD WINNERS (USBWA PLAYER OF THE YEAR)|
|1988 Sue Wicks, Rutgers
1989 Clarissa Davis, Texas
1990 Jennifer Azzi, Stanford
1991 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1992 Dawn Staley, Virginia
1993 Sheryl Swoopes, Texas Tech
1994 Lisa Leslie, USC
1995 Rebecca Lobo, Connecticut
1996 Saudia Roundtree, Georgia
1997 Kate Starbird, Stanford
1998 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee
2000 Tamika Catchings, Tennessee
2001 Ruth Riley, Notre Dame
|2002 Sue Bird, Connecticut
2003 Diana Taurasi, Connecticut
2004 Alana Beard, Duke
2005 Seimone Augustus, LSU
2006 Ivory Latta, North Carolina
2007 Candace Parker, Tennessee
2008 Candace Parker, Tennessee
2009 Maya Moore, Connecticut
2010 Tina Charles, Connecticut
2011 Maya Moore, Connecticut
2012 Brittney Griner, Baylor
2013 Brittney Griner, Baylor
2014 Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
2015 Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
|The award was named in honor of Ann Meyers Drysdale in 2012|